As a member of BAFTA, (British Association of Film & Television Arts), I’m naturally interested in the Hollywood business scene and so I’m intrigued at rumours that United Artists, the historic film producer, may soon be sold.
According to The Times, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, UA’s present owners, has had a $500 million bid approach which, in turn, will probably attract other interested parties for the producer behind Charlie Chaplin’s films and the comedy classic Some Like It Hot.
UA was set up in 1919, initially to distribute the films of silent screen stars, including Chaplin. In later years Films produced by it include Rocky, Apocalypse Now, West Side Story and Rain Man. In 1951 Chaplin sold his shares in United Artists to the entertainment lawyers Arthur Krim and Robert Benjamin, who took it public in 1957, raising funds to expand into television and music. Ten years on, they sold the company to Transamerica, the financial services organisation. MGM bought the studio in 1981.
I hope that if UA changes hands once again, the new owners will keep its rich history going but in this new DVD era the film industry has short memories for the past.